Compare Student Loan Refinance

From savings and qualifications to additional fees and application process, we research everything you need to compare student loan refinance and make a decision. Learn how our editors compare the different factors of student loan refinance below.
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How we Compare Student Loan Refinance

Savings - 30%
Qualifications - 25%
Loan Limits/Terms - 15%
Customer Service - 10%
Additional Fees - 10%
Application Process - 10%

Savings

This is obviously the most important thing to you if you are considering a student loan refi, you're doing it to save money, to lower your interest rate and restructure that monthly payment into something more manageable. (Although it is possible you could refinance to shorten the term with higher monthly payments in order to pay off the loan quicker, but the end result is still ultimately savings.) Here we look at the average savings a given entity gives their clients.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Savings:

Qualifications

So now you have a ballpark idea about what the competing institutions are offering in the way of savings, and you're eager to lower that monthly payment ASAP. Invariably the next question is "do I qualify?" Let's take a look at how easy it will be for you to get this loan. Different companies have different qualifications of differing degrees of austerity. Your credit, income, savings, degree type, enrollment status, and type of original loan (federal vs. private) can all factor in. Those lenders with easier qualification criteria and fewer restrictions will score higher in this area.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Qualifications:

Loan Limits/Terms

How much can you borrow? Since you are most likely trying to get the entirety of your student loan debt under control (perhaps from multiple loans), if you can't cover it all what's the point? Lenders offer different loan ceilings. Those that offer higher, less restrictive amounts will score better in this area.
You probably took your initial student loan with the grim acceptance you'd be paying it off for the rest of your natural born life. Now that you are refinancing, will it still be the same arrangement? Refinancing entities offer different term lengths with pros and cons to each. Longer terms translate to lower monthly payments but have higher interest payments and are more expensive in the long run. Short term loans on the other hand typically have lower interest rates. More loan term options combined with interest rate types (fixed, variable, hybrid) gives borrowers more flexibility. Lenders who offer the greatest flexibility in loan terms that create the most savings will score high in this area.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Loan Limits/Terms:

SoFiCredibleLendKeyEarnestLaurel RoadCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
Undergraduate SchoolNo Limits$350,000$125,000No LimitsNo Limits$500,000No Limits$12,500$120,000No Limits
Graduate SchoolNo Limits$350,000$300,000No LimitsNo Limits$500,000No Limits$20,500$180,000No Limits
Minimum Balance$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000Varies$5,000
Loan Terms5,7,10,15,20 YearsUp to 25 Years5,7,10,15,20 YearsFrom 5-20 years5,7,10,15,20 Years5,10,15,20 YearsUp to 20 YearsFrom 10-30 Years15 Years15 Years
Fixed RatesStarts at 3.50%Starts at 3.74%Starts at 3.25%Starts at 3.50%Starts at 4.20%Starts at 3.50%Starts at 3.50%Not StatedStarts at 6.24%Starts at 2.25%
Variable RatesStarts at 2.20%Starts at 2.10%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 3.64%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 2.22%Not StatedStarts at 3.74%Starts at 5.74%

Customer Service

Customer support can be offered a number of ways, including email support, live chat, and a customer service phone line potentially. We prefer companies who allow customers to speak to a live representative. There is a lot to consider when refinancing your student debt, and committing to a loan can be intimidating. Having the ability to speak to someone is a big plus, especially when your personal information and large sums of money are in play.

No matter what kind of customer support options the provider has, make sure you are comfortable with the method of communication they emphasize. That way, if there are problems or you have questions about anything, you want to know the company is available to help in a way that suits your personal preference.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Customer Service:

Additional Fees

At the end of the day the main priority here is to save money that you're shelling out monthly on a student loan. Lending institutions have to be up front on any additional fees they are going to hit you with. Organizations with excessive, unfair, or hidden fees do not score well in this area. It's quite reasonable to expect late payment, missed payment or returned check/failed transfer fee, but maybe not so reasonable for the institution to penalize you for paying off your balance early. Also read the fine print. A flat fee of $15 can be an entirely different thing than a percentage of the unpaid amount or overall debt. Many institutions charge an "origination fee" up front which is a percentage of the overall loan. What's more, they will often deduct this percentage from the actual disbursement so you end up getting an amount less than what you were approved for. (For example you took out a $60,000 student loan refi with a 1% origination fee. Banks with this policy will cut you a check for $59,400.)  Those with no origination fees will score higher than those with. Also, lenders with high origination fees or origination fees deducted from the loan will score the lowest.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Additional Fees:

Application Process

This is all about convenience, how quickly and painlessly the institution makes a decision and gets you your cash. How long will it take to get a quote? How long does it take them to decide? How and when will you receive the funds so you can get to the main priority of saving money? Typically, lenders will require you to submit personal information. This application information often includes your name, Social Security number, government-issued identification, home address, phone number, email address, checking account information, and possibly more. The quicker and easier we deem the application process, the better a given score.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Application Process:

SoFiCredibleLendKeyEarnestLaurel RoadCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
Instant Quotation
Loan Refinance Specialist

Full Student Loan Refinance Comparison

SavingsQualificationsLoan Limits/TermsCustomer ServiceAdditional FeesApplication Process
SoFi Student Loan Refinance10.09.010.010.09.79.0
Credible Student Loan Refinance9.59.010.09.510.010.0
LendKey Student Loan Refinance9.59.58.59.510.09.5
Earnest Student Loan Refinance10.09.010.08.09.08.0
lendEDU9.08.58.59.59.010.0
ELFI Student Loan Refinance9.49.57.09.510.07.5
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance9.58.59.08.09.58.5
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance9.58.59.08.09.08.5
LendingTree Student Loan Refinance7.08.010.08.010.010.0
College Ave Student Loans Refinance8.08.08.58.510.08.5
DocuPop Student Loan Refinance6.010.010.09.05.010.0
Discover Student Loan Refinance8.08.08.08.08.08.0
Wells Fargo Student Loan Refinance7.07.06.07.07.08.0
Sallie Mae Student Loan Refinance8.07.07.05.07.05.0
Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance7.07.06.56.07.07.0
iHELP Student Loan Refinance6.06.06.04.06.07.0
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Latest Reviews

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Student Loan Refinance
A
Anonymous
Dallas, Texas
6/9/2017
I applied and was approved in a timely manner. My interest rate was awesome compared to what I'm at with the Feds. I just now have to decide whether or not I want to give up my rights that the Feds offer with repayment options over the life of the loan.

D
Danielle K
Easthampton, Massachusetts
3/29/2017
DRB provided me with a no-hassle, stress-free experience. I had no prior knowledge of borrowing and they were able to really simplify the process for me and I ended up receiving a much lower rate than at SoFi.

Jeremy O
Matthews, North Carolina
3/7/2017
Please ignore my last review. I was remarking about another student loan refinance company. SoFi promptly responded to my concern and answered my questions. They (Mitsy) were very prompt and courteous.

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Student Loan Refinance